Consumers here have appealed to Government to take action and quickly reign in errant wholesalers and retailers who are arbitrary hiking prices of basic products, while creating artificial shortages on the market.
A snap survey by The Herald in Gweru and Kwekwe revealed that most wholesalers and retailers had hiked prices of basic products such as cooking oil, flour and mealie-meal, with some products disappearing from the shelves.
Some shops had also introduced a three-tier pricing regime, with the price of products depending on the mode of payment.
There were no basic products like flour and cooking oil in both OK and Pick n Pay supermarkets in Kwekwe.
At DCK shop, there were different prices for cooking oil, with 2 litre bottle going for $4.20 when one is buying using bond notes while it was pegged at $5 when using either swipe or Ecocash.
In Gweru, there was no cooking oil in most retail and wholesale shops.
At Gains Cash and Cary wholesalers in Gweru, a case of 2 litre cooking with 12 bottles which was being sold at $46 in the morning had gone to $58.32.
“What these businesses are doing is tantamount to day light robbery, I went to Gains Cash and Carry Gweru deport in the morning to check on prices and a box of cooking oil was being sold at $46,” said Mr Pardon Mudzingwa.
“When I later visited the shop in the afternoon after comparing prices, I found the price of the same box of cooking oil pegged at $58.32. I could not find the justification of hiking the price in a period of an hour.”
Another consumer, Mrs Gladys Shoko, reiterated the need for Government to intervene in controlling prices arguing retailers were out to rip them off.
“The inflation is stable in the country but some unscrupulous business want to send us into panic mode,” she said. “There is a lot of hoarding of products by consumers in shops because prices are reviewed on a daily basis, we need to be protected as consumers.”